Preserved lemons are nothing like fresh lemons. The lemons’ acidity softens over time, to be replaced by a salty-umami-richness. Combine with the sweet, almost charred flavour of roasted vegetables and you have the basis of a substantial summer salad!

We’ve chosen some Middle Eastern seasonings to complement the preserved lemons. Za’atar is perhaps the most popular herb blend in the Middle East, with the earthy, faintly minty flavour of thyme. Aleppo pepper can be found on nearly every dinner table in Turkey. It’s a red chilli pepper with a mild, fruity heat and goes with almost everything!

This recipe uses onions, red peppers, carrots and asparagus, but you could use whatever you have in your fridge. Most vegetables are great roasted! This recipe makes a great side to poached salmon or grilled chicken. Alternatively it is a lovely light lunch by itself.

Roast Veg & Grain Salad with Preserved Lemon Dressing 

Serves 6

Ingredients
4 onions, peeled and quartered
6 carrots , peeled and cut into 2cm slices on the diagonal
2 red peppers, stem and seeds removed, cut into 1 inch slices
1 tsp salt
1 bulb garlic, peeled
2 tbsp za’atar
200g of trimmed asparagus or green beans
600 g of cooked grains (approx. 300g uncooked – use quinoa, freekeh, wheat grains)
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (a sweet one like this 12 year old Balsamic)
80g olives, chopped
100g feta cheese, cut into cubes
Aleppo pepper

Preserved lemon dressing
75g fresh coriander
6 small preserved lemons (you should have 75g lemon rind in total, once all pith and seeds are removed)
½ tsp salt
150ml olive oil

Heat the oven to 180°C. Toss the carrots, onions, peppers & garlic with olive oil & za’atar and roast for 20 minutes. Add the asparagus or green beans, toss well and roast for a further 15 minutes until soft and slightly charred.

Remove the pith from the preserved lemons, leaving only the peel. In a food processor, blend with olive oil, most of the coriander (reserve a few leaves for garnish) and salt.

Mix the preserved lemon dressing and balsamic vinegar into the cooked grains. Add the roast vegetables, feta, and olives and toss together. Garnish with coriander leaves and Aleppo pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The salad keeps well for up to 3 days in the fridge, so any leftovers are great for lunches over the next few days.